When it comes to running your own business, the likelihood is it’s not going to be a 9-5 job. A business is like having a baby; you’re either going to be with it all the time or at least have a baby monitor to keep you updated. A smartphone is the baby monitor of your business - whenever you’re out of the office, that phone will be your assistant, updating you on everything that’s going on.
On the simplest scale, a smartphone is just a phone. You can call any of your business contacts, suppliers, employees or even clients using that smartphone. It’s amazing how many people forget that their phone does such a thing, so caught up are they with downloading fatuous apps.
Email on the Move
Similarly, a smartphone is exceptionally good for sending and receiving emails. Long gone are the days when you had to fire up the PC at 2am to check for that important email from overseas.
Okay, so email functionality is pretty obvious, but if you’re setting up or running your own business, emails and phone calls will be your greatest means of communication. To fully use your smartphone as a business tool, though, you’ll need to get a little more creative.
First of all, you’ll want to have your company’s social media integrated to your smartphone. Being able to tweet or Facebook slightly more jovial updates on your travels is a great way to interact with potential customers. Say, for instance, you are running a micro-brewery; why not use your smartphone’s camera to take pictures of new stock as it comes in? Then simply upload it to your social network of choice so customers can admire the latest craft beer offerings.
A word of warning though: always remember to keep your handset locked, as practical jokers have been known to update people’s Facebook or Twitter accounts in their absence – another good aspect of smartphone is that they come with a password feature. Use it.
There are also a multitude of apps that you can purchase to help your business. For finance help, apps can allow you to log all your expenses and purchases into specific categories. You can even visualize your spending with a monthly pie chart to show you where all your money is going, which will come in very handy if you’re looking to make savings across the board.
Apps are also available to provide professional looking invoices from your phone, and there are also plenty of payment methods available. Smartphones allow you to pay and be paid via PayPal, Authorize.net and other online payment services, and NFC (near field communication) equipped phones allow you to pay directly to businesses that accept mobile payments.
Organizers and Calendars
Gone are the days of carrying around a hefty Filofax – a modern smartphone can hold the same information and is much more economical on pocket or bag space. It can also integrate with other services and remind you of appointments in a way that a pen and paper never will. Smartphone calendars are easy to use and allow you to set up multiple calendars for different projects or clients, meaning you’ll never miss a meeting again.
Smartphones are "smart" for a reason; whether you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, there are hundreds of apps out there to cater to your business needs. Just search the app store to see what’s available, or check out technology and business blogs. The power lies in the palm of your hand - use it to your advantage.